01 January 2016
Southeast Asian nations officially launched an EU-inspired economic bloc Thursday aimed at boosting the region’s trading clout and attracting more investment, but analysts said a true single market was still a long way off.
The ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) hailed the project as a “milestone” in combining the economic force of a resource-rich and growing market of more than 600 million people.
The vision for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is a single market with a free flow of goods, capital and skilled labour, which should help the region compete with the likes of China for foreign investment.
The new bloc “will contribute significantly to the region’s growth and create developmental opportunities for all,” said Vivian Balakrishnan, the foreign minister of ASEAN member Singapore.
… John Pang, a senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said there would be only “slow and incremental progress” in integrating the economies of Southeast Asia.
“The AEC will not be raising the curtain on any radical change,” he wrote in a commentary.
CMS / Online
Last updated on 04/01/2016